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This Sunday morning I awoke on a mission. I loaded my children in the car, went to church and stood in front of the altar asking my pastor and congregation to pray for our country’s healthcare system. Of late, I’ve been disheartened and weary. My mammoth burden needed to be turned over to a Higher Power.

One of the main reasons I wrote The Smart Mother’s Guide was to protect pregnant women from becoming victims of medical malpractice based upon practices of neglect and distraction. In recent years, I have witnessed things that I wished I hadn’t. How does one respond when made aware of an ob-gyn physician who typically schedules 80 patients a day at 5 minute-intervals because he’s being paid on a per-patient-basis? The State Board of Medicine deemed it to be “legal” because a statute or law was not written to address the issue. Welcome to Conveyor-Belt Medicine.

The battle of patient scheduling has become a national problem for conscientious physicians and nurses. Overbooking patients jeopardizes patient safety but complaints fall on deaf ears. Because of decreased revenue paid by insurance companies maintaining a medical practice above water has become a numbers game.

How many patients should a physician or healthcare extender see in one day? It depends on the specialty but anything over 30 is clearly pushing the envelope. In my research regarding the average number of patients seen per day by a physician, I came across a 2008 blog written by KevinMd that is shocking. In the thread, Dr. Anonymous admits to seeing 50 to 100 patients per physician per day because “30 to 35 patients per day would hardly pay the rent.” The conversation goes from bad to worse as Dr. Anonymous attempts to justify his actions.

The notion that patients are now “subscribers” that can be used as leverage to obtain insurance contracts and business deals is sickening. Where is the quality care in this? Where is the healing? Greed and immorality have high jacked our healthcare profession and thus far, there is no super hero who’s been able to lasso it back. Pregnant moms, be your own advocate and protector. Before selecting a healthcare provider, ask a simple question: how many patients does he or she see in a day? Avoid the conveyor belt at all cost. You and your unborn baby are more than just a number.